Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

possible that, even in other cases, this pressure may be the ultimate reason why the cultural "melting pot" of the United States so often has failed to "reach the melting point." Under a too heavy pressure, the process has turned out to be a hardening rather than a melting process.


38. The Armenian's View of the American Middle Class *

Mary Bosworth Treudley

[One of the measures of integration of a minority group is its understanding of important American cultural patterns. Professor Mary Bosworth Treudley here describes how an Armenian minority in a New England community regards an important aspect of American culture.]

This paper is based on five years of field work carried on by undergraduates at Wellesley College in connection with a course on American ethnic groups, though use will be made only of the results obtained in the spring of 1946. The students came in contact with some two or three hundred Armenian-Americans, chiefly of the first and second generation, living in the Boston metropolitan area. Interviews were of some length, ranging from one to five hours. They were chiefly group interviews, with their setting a little more frequently in the home than in the office. For our purpose of qualitative analysis, the home interviews were particularly enlightening, involving as they did informal family interaction around the dinner table.

The informants for this study were chosen largely from that section of the ethnic group which has made a more or less successful adjustment to middle class status. . . .

The attitude is very generally held by Americans that the middle class is a desirable group to which to belong. One of the characteristics differentiating the American ethos from that of most other societies is to be found in the very large proportion of the population who claim middle class position and resent any suggestion that they belong either above or below that stratum.

____________________
*
From "An Ethnic Group's View of the American Middle Class," American Sociological Review, 11 ( December, 1946), 715-24. Copyright 1946 by American Sociological Review. Reprinted by permission of American Sociological Review and the author. The investigation on which this study is based was carried on with the cooperation of the International Institute of Boston, Miss Marion Blackwell, Director. Field contacts were made through Miss Hagop Araxie.

-387-

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